Snape grants an interview, Tom pitches a fit and hatches a plot, Harry Plans, Justin has Luna meet his folks, and Neville steps up.
Harry Potter and The Acts of Betrayal
Chapter Nineteen – Enough
“Feeling better Professor?” Amelia Bones looked across the table at the one armed man. “It’s time for you to tell me what I want to know.”
Severus Snape glared across the table at her. Gone were his usual black robes. He wore a sleeveless orange tunic ensuring that his Dark Mark was displayed for the world to see. It had been an interesting four days for the Potions Master since he had been released from the St. Mungo’s prison ward. Never before had there ever been so many volunteer for the late shift to guard a single prisoner. Amelia actually interviewed each and every one of the volunteers and explained, hypothetically of course, what might happen to any Auror who was found to be abusing a prisoner…
Not that that helped with the general population of the holding facility. It seems that the average prisoner, what her Aurors called “Ordinary Decent Criminals”, had an exceptionally dim view of those bearing the Dark Mark… Snape’s periods in the ‘exercise yard’ had turned out to be interesting.
“I don’t have to speak with you.”
“No, no you don’t. You can sit there pretending to be my superior and go to Azkaban for the rest of your life.”
“Albus Dumbledore will never allow that to happen.”
“Oh yes, he has been beating down my door since your arrest… No, actually I haven’t seen him since that lovely afternoon in the castle, nor has he as much as sent me a note. I do know he’s been in his offices at the Ministry several times since your arrest, but he hasn’t lifted a finger to help you.”
“Unless of course he feels that defending a Death Eater is one thing, and defending a Child molesting rapist is entirely another. You’ve been a busy little pervert haven’t you? When I arrested you it was on charges for raping five different girls, more than twenty have come forward since. The kindest thing I can do for you would be to lock you away for life. If you get off, you will have so very many husbands, fathers, and brothers looking to kill you, slowly.”
That news surprised the Death Eater. Amelia buried her smile behind a frown. “Perhaps the reason that Dumbledore cut you loose was your demonstrated stupidity.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You attempted to curse a four time European Dueling champion, one who showed admirable restraint in only wounding you.”
“THIS is restraint?” The man asked incredulously gesturing to his shoulder where his arm had once been.
“Indeed. I’m no where near Filius Flitwick’s level, and I would have killed you for your presumption boy. He didn’t only because he considered it to be ‘bad form’.” She gave the man a predatory grin. “Besides, Dumbledore will have his own problems soon enough.”
The former teacher’s brow furrowed. “I don’t understand.”
“You see, you are going to tell me about everything you have done in the service of that man, from consorting with known terrorists to raping little girls to abusing Lord Longbottom and Lord Potter-Black.”
“Why would I do that?”
“The same reason you took that Dark Mark Death Eater. You’re a coward, and you are very afraid of what I might do to you.”
Tom Riddle was in a rage. He had killed two low level recruits who brought the news. In a matter of days he had lost the core of his inner circle. Malfoy killed by Potter (Potter blamed Narcissa Malfoy, but really), Bellatrix and the LeStrange brothers killed by Neville Longbottom, Snape arrested for molesting children and fostering rape within Slytherin House. Wormtail killed in a fight with another Death Eater over a prisoner of all things. Most of his spy network in Dumbledore’s school had been arrested with Snape and by all reports none of them put up the slightest fight.
And still his two remaining spies in Hogwarts reported that if anything the leaders of the light were even more fragmented than ever. Potter and Longbottom allied against Dumbledore, the Ministry against everyone. It was time. It was time to move. The loss of the Malfoy fortune was worrisome, but if he could strike while the Forces of the Light were in disarray…
Dumbledore’s pawns were now in the St. Mungo’s Long Term facility under the care of mind healers. They were blood traitors, but fixated upon the Potters… Might they be useful? As a distraction, if nothing more? And the Longbottom whelp’s parents…
The Death Eater hurried forward to prostrate himself before his master.
“I have a task for you”
In a hidden and very secure room in Longbottom Manor Harry Potter lay out his plan.
“And why are you asking us about this Lord Potter-Black?”
Harry shrugged. “You are the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to Wizarding Traditions Lady Longbottom. The Goblins tell me that this should work, but they have their own points of view and who knows what their private agenda might be?”
“Your plan has many risks, and quite frankly, I don’t recall anything like it ever being attempted before.” Algernon Croaker said looking over the documents Harry had provided. “But it should work, assuming that the debt hasn’t been discharged. Also, the wording of the Oath is important.”
“That is a risk, but none of the records available show that it has been. In fact until very recently there was no opportunity TO discharge the debt. As far as the Oath goes, I’ve only got the archival documents to go on. The previous Lord Blacks seemed to have been an officious lot.”
“If you meet him with his forces around him, you will still have to contend with his Death Eaters.” Amelia Bones said from her seat at the table. “If you can give me warning, I’ll have every Auror in the world there.”
“We would appreciate them.” Daphne Black said. “But if Hermione is right, we may not need them”
“’We?’” Augusta Longbottom asked. “Your wives will accompany you to war Lord Potter?”
“No.” Harry shook his head.
“Yes” Daphne said, giving her husband a death glare.
“You have stumbled upon the first fight of our marriage Lady Longbottom. Our husband believes he gets a vote on the topic.” Hermione Granger smiled. “He seems to feel we should be hiding in some safe location waiting to see if we should be fitted for Widow’s Weeds.” Hermione turned her attention to Harry while still addressing Neville’s grandmother. “Rest assured that if any of us fall in this war, the other two will be there so that they are not alone.”
“Hannah will be there as well Gran.” Neville said, “no matter how much I beg her other wise.” He smiled. “I just know enough to quit fighting it.”
“I believe I understand. I have always said a witch is the equal to any wizard, no matter how fat headed the men may be.”
“Merlin Augusta, Just tell them about your adventures as in the Valkerie Squadron during the war against Grendlewald and be done with it.” Croaker laughed. “She still has her Leather Jacket she got from some Yank Muggle bomber pilot.”
“I liked the Patch on the jacket.” She sniffed.
“She liked the Yank IN the jacket.”
Neville shuddered. “Way too much information!”
The meeting ended with laughter.
There had been many times since he had received his Hogwarts letter that Justin Finch-Fletchley had doubted his sanity. Most of those involved going out and doing spectacularly stupid things with Ernie MacMillan, but this time…
Justin had invited Luna Lovegood to his family home to meet his family. At some level he worried about doing this, Luna wasn’t the kind of girl his younger sister brought home after all, but he needed to do this.
“Good afternoon Mr. Finch-Fletchley” his blond goddess had said shaking Justin’s fathers hand with a small curtsey. “I don’t believe I’ve ever met a Stock Broker before.”
Charles Finch-Fletchly smiled “Welcome to our home Miss Lovegood. Justin has never brought one of his female classmates home before.”
“And I’ve never been to a non-magical home before. Perhaps we will both learn something interesting and new this weekend.”
Charles led Luna and Justin from the foyer to the sitting room. “Miss Lovegood, if I might present my wife, Belinda.”
“How do you do Miss Lovegood.”
“Quite well thank you… excuse me, but you look very familiar.”
“Perhaps you’ve seen us in Diagon Alley Luna.”
“No, that’s not it Justin.” Her expression faded as she concentrated on a memory. The young girl was suddenly jumping up and down in excitement. “You’re Belinda Carmichael! You’re Doctor Belinda Carmichael!”
Justin’s mother shot him a look. “Why, yes I am. How did you know?”
“Daddy takes ‘Physics Review’! Your article on repeatability patterns in Lorenz Attractors was just amazing! I couldn’t follow all the math, but… I can’t believe I’ve actually met Belinda Carmichael!”
“None of my children’s friends have ever had the slightest clue what I did. I’m amazed that you do. I didn’t think that wizards and witches cared about physics.”
“Oh we do, believe me. Wizarding Astronomers and Arithmancers live and die by the advances in Muggle science and technology. I plan on attending university upon leaving Hogwarts to study maths and physics.”
“You do? To what end?”
“I want to study magic. We’ve been using it forever, but we still don’t know what it is. I think that if precisely what magic is can be isolated, then maybe it could be used by everyone. Imagine, everyone in the world with magic.”
Justin stood back with his father and the two men shared a smile as the women in their lives discussed mathematics. Justin shook his head. What had he been worried about?
Yaxley stepped over the convulsing body of the Healer who had dared oppose his Master’s will. The woman wouldn’t die, though she would be haunted by the experience for the rest of her days. Killing Healers was a bad idea; you never knew when you would need one. While this team had killed more than a dozen of St. Mungo’s staff on this mission, none of those were the white robed healers.
The door to the Long Term Care ward was of course locked. A swish of his wand and the door opened to his hand. The senior Death Eater turned to his team. “Get in there. Get the blood traitors our Lord wants and kill the rest. Don’t harm a single hair on any of their heads. You have three minutes.”
Yaxley watched as the six Death Eaters rushed through the door. He had to remain to keep the door open. No spell known to magic could open it from the inside, and the Long Care Ward had permanent anti apparition and portkey wards build into the it. This door was the only way in or out and had to be controlled. Yaxley didn’t trust any of the others to do the job.
They had made a mistake. Ron Weasley sat on his bunk in his locked room. They had made a mistake, locking him away, keeping him from his Hermione. They would pay. They would all pay. The supposed healers, the Aurors who brought him here. His parents and brothers who visited with pitying looks on their faces, and Potter. Potter would pay most of all. The second day he had been here, before they locked him away all alone, Ron had stolen a spoon. Over the last seven weeks Ron had rubbed the spoon against the stone walls every unobserved moment. Every night Ron had concentrated his magic onto the metal implement. It was now razor sharp and so infused with magic that it was much harder and stronger than the cheap metal it had originally been made of, and it obeyed him, almost like it was a living thing.
They had taken his wand. They had taken his Hermione. They thought they could break him. They were wrong. He was Ron Weasley. He was supposed to be the Head Boy. The Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. Holder of the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup. He was…
His inner monolog was interrupted by screaming outside his locked door. Not the regular screaming of the night, this was something new, daytime screaming. And shouts of “Crucio!” Ron smiled. They were making another mistake. Open the door! He commanded telepathically. Open the door, I want to come out to show you your mistake.
Almost like an answer to his mental commands, the door unlocked and began to open.
How had this happened? Ginny Weasley also sat on her bunk, her filthy hair hanging in her face. She hadn’t bathed since she had been brought to this place. She had had everything. Harry, his love, his money. Everything.
Then Hermione Granger had taken it all away.
Under the mudblood’s influence Harry had even taken up with a Slytherin slut. Why had Hermione done this to her? Ginny had always been her friend. Ginny had always shared what she had with Hermione. It was supposed to be Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, One big happy Weasley family. They were supposed to live happily ever after, seeing old friends occasionally at Platform 9 ¾ when they sent their children off to Hogwarts.
But Hermione Granger had taken it all away.
Ginny never even looked up when the door to her cell opened.
“Stand up Blood Traitor!” the woman said, in a strangely accented voice.
That was odd. Usually the staff just called her “Miss Weasley” or “Ginny”. “Blood Traitor” was an unusual form of address… wasn’t it? Ginny didn’t really care. She ignored the instructions and remained sitting where she was, staring at the floor, attempting to understand just how she had lost it all.
Emilija Ulmanis was a fresh recruit to the Death Eaters, not yet a full year out of Durmstrang and was unaccustomed to being ignored when she gave an order while wearing the livery of her Dark Lord. Service to the Dark Lord was her path to greatness, but here on her first mission for her Dark Lord, this… This filthy Blood Traitor was ignoring her.
Emilija crossed the small cell to the smaller woman and jerked the red head to her feet. In doing so, Emilija had caused the smaller woman to collide with her quite painfully, and the hood to Emilija’s cloak had fallen down to expose her rather bushy brunette hair.
Patience, patience, patience. Ron told himself as the door to his cell opened. His hand made knife carefully hidden in his hand. The man at the door had said something, but Ron missed it, focusing his attention on what Hermione would do for him when he rescued her from Harry Potter and his Slytherin slut. It wasn’t until the man placed his hand on Ron’s shoulder that the youngest Weasley male remembered his own plan.
With all of his strength, Ron drove his sharpened spoon into the throat of the man in black robes.
Black robes? Since when did anyone in the hospital wear black robes? Ron pondered that as he stood over the convulsing body. Ooh, goodie! A wand. Ron bent over to pick up his newest weapon almost giggling, and in doing so for the first time noticed the bone white mask the man wore.
White mask? Not hospital people… Bad men, death… death… Death Eaters. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s people.
Instincts that predated his loss of sanity came to the fore. His new wand in hand, Ron Weasley used the cover of the room to plan his next move. From the open door he saw that a pair of the black robes had an older man in a hospital gown between them. Could he take them out without hurting the prisoner between them? He could. Harry had taught him. Harry had…
Ron felt the beginnings of his focus slipping away. Ignore everything else. Take the bastards down. Ron launched himself from the room, a complex curse chain erupting from his new wand
Ginny looked up to see the face of the person manhandling her, but before she got to the face she saw the cow like udders and the bushy brunette hair.
“Granger!” she growled and immediately attacked with her bare hands.
Emilija Ulmanis was taken totally by surprise by the sudden physical attack, and the two women went to the floor with their fight. Ulmanis had the advantage of size and weight on her side. Ginny had the advantage of growing up with six older brothers and insane fury. Ulmanis never had a chance.
Emilija was pummeled until Ginny spotted her wand on the floor alongside the bleeding woman’s head. The youngest Weasley scooped the wand up. As soon as she touched it she knew it was a poor match, but it was good enough
“Reducto!” and the female Death Eater’s head disappeared into a fine mist.
It was only then Ginny realized what had happened. Why would Granger be in a Death Eaters outfit? Why would she wear a mask? She examined the wand in her hand. This wasn’t Hermione’s Vine wood with a dragon heartstring core. It was a much darker wood.
Ginny fought for focus. It was then she heard Ron’s voice calling out curse chains like when they were in the DA together.
Ron was cursing someone? Ron was in trouble! With a growl, she rushed into the ward to go to her older brother’s aid.
Harry Potter was on his hands and knees panting like a dog. He shook his head and spat blood onto the floor of the room of requirements. He and Neville had been in the midst of a practice duel, and whatever Neville had just hit him with had blown past Harry’s shield like it wasn’t there.
“Merlin on a crutch Neville, what the hell was that?” he said between gasps. “I feel like you worked me over with a beaters bat.”
“Are you ok? I’m sorry Harry, that wasn’t supposed to happen. Great Uncle Algie taught that to me after the meeting at Gran’s house last week. It’s something the Unspeakables came up with.”
Harry rolled over to a sitting position, with his back against the wall, still gasping for breath. “Whatever it is, it’s a good one.”
“It’s supposed to be a modified bludgeoner. Supposedly it sacrifices power for multiple impacts to disorient the opponent.” Neville sat next to his friend. “Supposedly, it’s supposed to make seven impacts. Are you sure you’re ok?”
“I will be. That was NOT seven impacts, it was at least fifty, and each one was as strong as any normal bludgeoner I’ve ever felt.” He held his ribs. “I think as soon as the universe stops spinning around, I’m going to need to see Madam Pomfrey.”
“I’m so sorry Harry!”
“Don’t be Nev, that was wicked. You’re going to have to teach it to me. You know, I’m starting to think that Riddle was lucky he picked me to mark his equal.”
“How can you say that?” Neville asked, confused by Harry’s words.
“Nev, buddy, you’re at least as strong as I am. Since your core finished filling after your blocks were removed, you’ve gotten quite a bit more powerful. The same level of power and everyone underestimates you. That’s sneaky. I know I wouldn’t want to face an angry Neville Longbottom in a fight. I mean, look what a slightly annoyed Neville did to me.”
“Maybe.” The blond boy thought for a minute. “But if he had marked me, I probably wouldn’t have gotten a cool lightning bolt scar; my luck doesn’t work that way. The bastard would probably stuck me with a lame-assed equals sign or something.”
“Ha!.... ouch.” Harry winced again clutching at his ribs. “Oh, I see your plan Longbottom, first you break every bone in my body, and then you make me laugh so that you can enjoy my pain!” He again spat some blood onto the floor. “Yer evil. Did all those nasty things to me AND made me bite my tongue. Evil I tells ya!”
“Come on Harry; let’s get you to Madam Pomfrey’s tender mercies.” He assisted his friend to his feet and together the pair made their way to the Hospital Wing.
What the hell was going on in there? Yaxley could hear screaming and the sound of spell fire inside the ward. If he entered to investigate, the door would close behind him and they would all be trapped. If he left the six recruits would be trapped, and the Dark Lord would surely kill him for failing at his mission. What was he supposed to do?
His questions became moot as one of his team of Death Eaters came running from the door dodging spell fire as he did so. As the man crossed the threshold a blasting curse caught him in the left leg. The running death eater and his left leg spun into the far wall in opposite directions.
A tall redheaded man in a hospital gown followed the Death Eater through the door.
“Come on back Death Eater.” The man said. “How can I be a hero if you run away? If I’m not a hero Hermione won’t come back to me.”
Yaxley watched in horror as the lunatic lay curse after curse on the fallen Death Eater. It was time to end this.
“Avada Kedarvra!” Yaxley spat and watched the lunatic fall dead atop his victim.
“You killed my brother.” Yaxley turned to see a girl in a hospital gown pointing a wand in his face. “You killed my brother! Reducto!”
Yaxley screamed when his right shoulder disintegrated. He fell to the ground writhing in pain.
“You killed my brother! REDUCTO!”
Forensic evidence showed that Ginny Weasley had used 23 Reductos on the Death Eater known only as Yaxley. It was generally believed that the man had lived through seven of them before finally dying.
A/N: Many thanks to rijl_kent, fenriswolf001, mathiasgranger1 and the Great and Powerful Kinsfire for their help with the Harry/Neville fight scene.